Connecting your warehouse management software (WMS) to your transportation management system (TMS) puts all important data in one place for warehouse operations. Once connected, you’ll see real-time information about inventory and shipping to make better-informed decisions.
And you can provide more accurate shipping tracking and better understand the movement of goods throughout the supply chain. Learn more about how to connect these valuable systems and the benefits you can experience.
When you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Warehouse software’ series:
- What is a shipping warehouse?
- How to improve warehouse operations
- Best warehouse management software systems
- Can I connect my warehouse management software to my TMS?
What Is Warehouse Management Software?
Warehouse management software helps companies manage inventory and supply chain fulfillment to distribute the right products in the timeline promised. Using this type of software can also provide efficiencies in labor and storage use because it helps you manage your resources and shows opportunities for improvement.
Software developers created WMS to support the needs of the supply chain, including distribution and manufacturing. Fulfillment is a complicated business with many pieces and parts. Failing to transport a good from a shipping port to a warehouse before the freight company arrives to pick it up and deliver it to the final customer can harm relationships and cause serious issues down the line.
In short, WMS ensures goods flow through warehouses efficiently while keeping costs down. The software can help with:
WMS can be a standalone system or it can be part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite. Regardless of the type of system your WMS is, it’s likely very flexible since warehousing and supply chain management can look very different for various types of businesses. That flexibility can leave room for connecting data from your TMS.
What Is TMS?
A transportation management system (TMS) is logistics software that aids businesses in planning and optimizing moving goods. This includes both incoming and outgoing goods as well as compliance and documentation required for goods transportation.
Generally, a TMS is a part of a supply chain management system. The top functions of TMS software include:
- Transportation operations
- Trade compliance
- Timely freight and goods delivery
- Shipping management
- Shipping efficiency
- Determining the best transportation options (i.e., air, land, sea)
TMS and WMS work together to provide a complete view of goods moving in and out of a warehouse. The WMS can create pick tickets and help in managing inventory while the TMS ensures you have a plan for getting the goods to the warehouse and then moving them to their final destination.
As supply chain management becomes more complicated, using both TMS and WMS together is essential to running an efficient business.
Can I Connect My Warehouse Management Software To My TMS?
Many warehouse inventory management software systems can integrate with transportation management systems, but not all. You’ll need to take several steps to find if this is the best solution for your business and if you have the right software for the job.
Why Should I Combine My Warehouse Management Software With My TMS?
Combining WMS and TMS offers a single source of truth for all data related to the movement of goods. You’ll be able to see goods from early planning phases to their arrival to the end-user to track every detail and manage the process to keep costs low and efficiency high.
How Can My TMS and WMS Work Together?
When TMS and WMS work together, they help companies track shipments up and down the supply chain. You’ll be able to see inbound and outbound movements with incredible precision, which can lead to important insights to help you save money. You can flag events as troublesome before customers experience impacts to get things back on time and to prevent large disruptions.
How Do I Connect My Warehouse Management System and Transportation Management System?
The process of connecting your TMS and WMS will vary based on which systems you’re using. To get started, you’ll need to discuss the possibility of integration with each of your software vendors to learn compatibility and areas where you might still need manual date entry and override. This will help you decide whether the connection is valuable.
What Are the Four Basic Functions of Transportation Management?
Transportation management includes 4 basic functions:
- Transportation route management and execution
- Measuring effectiveness and optimizing future transactions
Important Differences Between WMS and TMS
WMS focuses on the warehousing portion of the supply chain. It aids in telling companies how and when to pick products from warehouse shelves, where the goods are located, and timelines for inbound and outbound shipments.
TMS handles the next phase of the supply chain in showing freight and carrier options once an item is ready for shipping. These systems can help companies find the best carriers based on the product and where it needs to go while helping the company manage the cost of transporting the goods. TMS also helps with routing, booking and tracking shipments.
Both systems help in tracking, documenting, and fulfilling the movement of goods. But the key way they are different is the timing of when they provide tools and insights into the supply chain.
Example of a Connected WMS and TMS
Long before a customer places an order – either for a retail store to stock its shelves or for a customer hoping for one item to be delivered directly to their doorstep – the supply chain is hard at work.
The WMS is tracking inventory to watch for the timeline to order more stock from overseas or the local manufacturing plant for the warehouse. It tracks when those goods arrive at the warehouse, where they are stored within the building, and the most efficient ways to pick and prep that item for shipment.
Once the order is ready within WMS, the customer might get a notification that the item has shipped. And that’s where the insights from the WMS end. The warehouse knows its experienced changes to its inventory and needs to justify those changes. But contracting the freight provider for the shipment, tracking it, and optimizing the route is all done elsewhere.
The order then moves to the TMS to broker the best freight deal, manage the shipment, and ensure that the goods arrive at the customer’s destination. When the systems integrate, the process is seamless and trackable from inbound reception into the warehouse to the arrival of the customer.
Within one single dashboard, the business can see everything and run reports on the entire supply chain process instead of siloed reports on warehousing and a separate one on shipping and freight.
Benefits of Combining WMS and TMS
Combining WMS and TMS offers one central location to manage all inbound and outbound aspects of the supply chain. Managers can oversee everything from one central location, run reports, and flag events that might be behind or out of sync in the supply chain.
Customers often experience the greatest benefits of integrated software systems. They experience faster delivery windows and lower shipping costs while getting greater insights into the status of an order.
While the customer isn’t seeing the changes taking place on the back-end to allow the warehouse to more efficiently use the space within every truck, they experience the consolidation of their orders and the accuracy of shipping guarantees.
Ease of Use
Instead of having to go back and forth between two software systems, your team can manage everything in one place. You’ll no longer need to mentally or manually piece together the information from your warehouse management company and your freight partner. With a few clicks, you can manage the supply chain from start to finish and optimize it for better results.
Integrating WMS and TMS will work wonders for your scheduling. You’ll be able to see all the goods that need to be moved, the address for their final destination, and the space left within trucks to optimize the use of all trailer space. You can plan well in advance for how goods will get from one location to another to build greater efficiencies and lower expenses while scheduling your workforce in order to meet the ever-changing demands.
Integrating systems offer greater accuracy because the data no longer has to be manually input, which can lead to errors and oversights. The supply chain is complicated as it includes many steps for goods to reach their final destination. More integration throughout the process is always helpful to ensure timely, accurate movements.
Holistic Supply Chain Management
Integrating WMS and TMS offers one holistic view of the supply chain from start to finish. Delighting customers is easier, and the cost savings can be transformational for your business. System integration puts all data information necessary in the hands of those who can make an impact with that data.
Most warehouses use warehouse management systems (WMS) for inventory tracking and order fulfillment.
WMS focuses on warehouse operations like storage and retrieval, while MRP (material requirements planning) handles production planning and inventory control. The two systems can be integrated but serve different purposes.
SAP offers a WMS module as part of its broader enterprise solutions. However, SAP provides various other functionalities like ERP and CRM.
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